Whanganui National Park high country, New Zealand 2 days 1 night

Forgotten highway:
Short break road trip

Trip Length:2 days, 1 night
Best time to visit:November to March, Spring and Summer. The weather could be changeable. Clothing layers are recommended.
About Trip
Forgotten highway weekend
Two days road tour

Podocarp forest, waterfalls, rivers, landscapes, bird life and off the beaten track. Regional New Zealand in a forested green wrap, complete with tourism on rails. A podocarp forest is part of the conifer family, think of cones looking like berries. The forest has an understorey of ferns, shrubs and grasses in every shade of green.

The remote timeless forest reminds the viewer we are looking at remnants of Gondwana land. Dinosaur territory definitely. The road follows original Maori walking tracks converted into colonial bridle paths formed in the late nineteenth century. The road hugs the mountainous contours providing an adventure as you are not sure what is exactly around every corner.

Mt Taranaki at dusk

Day One
Abandoned town
Day One

On the banks of the Mangaroa River, on a side road is Ohura. Your journey starts with an exploration of a largely abandoned town. The main street is bereft of operating shops. The supermarket, hairdressers, garden centre, general merchandise, cafe and petrol station are all closed, some with fading signs about the option of purchase or rental. After Ohura you rejoin SH43 for spectacular scenery, waterfalls and perhaps one of the world’s narrowest vehicular tunnels.

Abandoned cabin sitting in mowed field


Wangamomona Hotel

  • Option one Bushlands Holiday Camp. Tangarakau ghost town now Bushlands Camping Ground  Originally a rail and mining town settlement the original homes and shops for 1200 people have completely disappeared. The cleared land is now an upmarket camping ground providing an alternative accommodation option. There is access to the swimming hole in the Tangarakau River. Bushlands Camping Ground is pet friendly.  Location, 6 km, off SH43 down the Raekohua Road.
  • Whangamomona Hotel, camping ground or the original butchers shop. Bed and Breakfast options in Whangamomona such as the old Butchers shop on the main street of the settlement. Whangamomona Hotel or Whangamomona camping ground
Day Two
Explore Whangamomona district
Whangamomona Rd

Explore Whangamomona district. Hotel reception will be able to provide excellent up to date information. Do not miss the abandoned Catholic church just before the campground on Whangamomona Rd which starts by the hotel. The walk has pastoral and river views. You are walking on a paper road, closed to traffic. Walk past the pub on Whangamomona Rd, past the campground; this paper road is open to the public and provides a 55km loop of pastoral walking, cycling or motorcycling.

Whangamomona @New Zealand Geographic

Travel Pack Information

Closed railway track Ohura district, New Zealand

  • Taringamotu brief history of totara sawmilling, bush tramways and the forestry industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “Tringamoot”: the story of Taringamotu Totara Sawmills Ltd in the Taringamotu Valley. HD9768.N45 AND  Ken Anderson and Rod Cooke
  • Taringamotu Maori cemetery Cemetery
  • Ohura Waterfalls, the river Ohura is a tributary of the Wanganui River. Photograph of the Middle Falls (waterfall) on the Ohura River, a tributary of the Whanganui River. Taken by the studio of William James Harding, Whanganui. Source of descriptive information – Negative register and inscriptions on negative. Waterfall identified by Library client. Middle falls on Ohura River, a tributary of the Whanganui River Quantity: 1 b&w original negative(s). OHURA and MATIERE history in photographs

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